Youth & High school Football Coach at www.o-d.com
Personal Causes: Breast Cancer fundraising/awareness
Office/Cell Number: 978-474-8055
Personal Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q&A with Robert Gray
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Rob: I married my college girlfriend (university of New Hampshire at Durham) after a 8 year courtship, not sure why she “hung in” there, but I’m glad she did. We have two beautiful kids, Jackson age 13 and Michaela age 10. We do have a family pet, Henry, a lively 6 year old jack Russell terrier. I would highly suggested doing research before buying one, they require a ton of attention, long walks at night and plenty of love…wait, that’s me…Henry is low maintenance, really. He runs the house with an iron paw.
People who want to capitalize on Relationship Capital as a popular measure of networking success are the people I want to connect with. Consequently, web 2.0/networking is a passion. I run my Prep School (Bridgton Academy) Alumni networking group and love social networking for business and new connections. I am very active in my community as a youth sports leader and mentor. My real passion is coaching Life, I mean Football. Well, you get it. It’s one in the same. Having played Division 1 college football and now being able to pass along my “hard earned knowledge” to young men is a self-fulfilling prophecy “you get what you give”. My young players are all going to be great teammates, students, citizens, husbands, fathers and above all leaders. I am honored every single day I get to be around such motivated and inspiring young athletes. Having some part in their personal development makes it all so rewarding.
100 % of the kids we coach will play sports for a living! That’s right, 100%.... can someone challenge me that life, in and of itself is not a sport? That in America we reward the focused, driven and committed individuals. What adult that makes a living in this country, doesn’t have to compete in some way or another for either their livelihood, or to keep their job? What youth football coach in America (that’s worth his salt- thanks Vince), isn’t preparing your young men for their future & building a solid foundation for success in any endeavor that life has to offer. Football is a metaphor for life. Anyone that has played this game to the high school level knows this to be true. The top sales rep at the office, the focused & committed surgeon that operates on you, the person that tunes your car engine up and checks your brakes, the person that builds your home, they are all striving to earn your business. This is America, we welcome competition for EVERYTHING! It’s the fabric of our society. What makes you successful is your desire, commitment and dedication to be the best at what you do. Hmmmm, where have I heard that before? Harvard business school’s first rule of business is: If you don’t have a competitive edge, don’t compete! Maybe that’s just something we should wait to tell our kids when they are in….say…. college. Yeah, sounds about right. They’ll be much more mature at that point and better prepared to handle it. Hello! “Yes, Mrs. Jones, we are running sprints at the end of practice and painful as they might be for you to watch, your son will make it”.
Football more than any other sport relates to how “working hard tends to make good things happen” and how being part of a team leads to a deep sense of pride and self-respect. Football coaches have a responsibility to help create a foundation in their players that teaches: Hard work will be rewarded! Preparation is key to success and Team comes first.....we were taught these things by our coaches at the exact same age as our players are now. We have an obligation to give back what we got. No?
I have no complaints at all, I am coaching my son and his friends and we get so much out of the total experience that I am glowing with pride both as a father and a coach! I am helping in some small way; positively shape the lives of these kids. And, what I get back from this experience makes the 25 plus hours per week I volunteer pale by comparison. My advice to business leaders and former athletes is to “get involved” you can’t put a price on what you get back.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Rob: 2009 marks my 12th year in the Executive search industry. Hire Image is the third company I have built and branded. My firm has satisfied clients all over the world and has built outstanding best of breed sales forces for some of the best Hi-tech firms in the world.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Rob: I spent my first 9 years out of college with E & J Gallo Winery. The best sales training program in the US. Consumer goods is a great place to start your career, box seats to all the games, dinner out three nights a week, but that gets real old at 30. I got out to chase the money in hi-tech, period. Living in Boston in the late 90’s and not being in Hi-tech recruiting was a sin.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Great question. I started my Career at a F500 agency, sat next to several million dollar a year billers and was floored by the money they made. I knew I was in the right Industry, same deer different forest thing, just a learning curve to get past.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Rob: Absolutely, one of my oldest friends and former business partner mentored me for my first few years in the industry. “Stay on the phone, good things will happen” is what he told me a dozen times a day. Its so true, you want to reward yourself then pick up the phone and make another call. No victory laps here kid.
Six Degrees: Tell us about "Hire Image"
Rob: I have run my own firm since 2000. My world is “kill what you eat” period. I have never not run both sides of a desk. I have a partner in Amsterdam that runs EMEA and I run North America. I can and have managed up to 20 clients at once, but that’s about the maximum. I run a strict recruiting life cycle process and never manage the pipeline, just steer it.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Rob: I’ve always admired the retained search groups for the attention to detail and candidate control they have. After the white-hot dot com era, I developed the Hire Image software sales candidate evaluation best practice. Here is the quick version:
Enterprise Sales Ability
Strong Revenue achievement selling Enterprise applications... We look at the last 5 year W-2 history. Acceptable low end average is $200,000, (We prefer to see $250,000 average) with an average quota of ~$2,000,000. We also would like to see that the candidate has closed 6 or more deals over ~$500,000 and 2 or more deal over $1,000,000 in the last 5 years.
If the above criterion is met, then the hard assumptions we must make are:
A) This candidate can get in the door (fortune 500- CXO level) for first meeting and set the tone. Additionally, this candidate is a businessperson that can relate to the needs of CXO’s from a strategic view. They understand the business drivers as well as integration issues.
W-2 Stream over last 5 years;
Large deal history over last 5 years;
Ability to articulate solutions sales skills;
Demonstrate a consultative sales style; and
Demonstrated stability – has stayed with previous employers long enough to generate customer loyalty
B) This candidate has proven experience selling enterprise applications where they have taken a business solution and built strategic thrust with value. Then, have the ability to navigate the strategic initiative through a complex sales cycle to closure.
Bottom line: This Candidate knows how to explore and develop business issues and objectives, create a mutually shared vision of the solution, match those visions with the capabilities and technology, and keep control of the buy cycle. (Solution Selling 101)
Typical enterprise solution sales cycle includes:
Identify CXO (sales, marketing and CIO) critical business issues (pain) and who in the organization is impacted.
Provide capabilities that map to the CXO resolving these issues.
Document sales process and plan the sales cycle for the CXO to agree upon. This lets us know if the CXO is serious about continuing this business relationship and it identifies the next steps in closing the sale.
Provide a compelling accurate business case (value proposition, cost justification and confirmed agreed return on investment
Number of deals sold into desired vertical
Previously worked directly in the vertical (hands-on at potential customer target account)
This candidate has sold multiple $500,000+ licensed software deals into Major clients within your targeted verticals. (Major defined as +$3B total revenue) Or, the candidate has worked for 5+ years in a hands-on capacity within the target industry.
If the above criterion is met, then the hard assumptions we must make are:
A) This candidate understands the buying criteria, business drivers, and influencers within this particular Industry. This candidate also comes to the table with a Rolodex of CXO’s that should facilitate first meetings based upon candidate’s business relationships (reputation).
B) This candidate has sat on the other side of the table and understands the business issues that the buyer is facing – can relate to those issues from personal experience.
Experience selling for direct competitor or competitive product
Experience selling complimentary or other desired application/technology
Advanced technical aptitude (previous experience as an S/E or similar experience)
This candidate has sold multiple $500,000+ license software deals in your specific domain.
If the above criterion is met, then the hard assumptions we must make are:
A) This candidate has the ability to sell a business solution (vision). This candidate can quantify a value proposition and translate that into real time return on investment. This candidate has very strong upfront communication of Economic Impact.
Pluses: Start up experience- We like candidates that can “evangelize”, that have “missionary mode experience” and have scaled out net new business with few pre-existing customers.
Six Degrees: How do you get to the C-level and what do you do once you get there?
Rob: Most candidates are good at getting to "ground swell" - functional people. These people will give you the answer to "where is the pain" and plenty of soft assumptions... but they are not the C-level decision makers.
(B) Six Degrees: In what aspects are they superior?
Rob: This best of breed evaluation practice offers all interviewers a guideline to evaluate candidates against. It serves to keep your hiring manages focused on what’s important. Once you can get a client to agree on evaluation criteria, you have a much better shot at getting your candidates through the “gauntlet”
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Rob: Web 2.0 is has changed the game to a large degree, however our services as executive search recruiters will never be replaced. Sourcing elite candidates and selling them on your client’s value as an employer will always require the skilled hand of a seasoned recruiter. “A players” always have employment choices, selling them on making a move requires a consultative relationship that is built over years. Additionally, I see more RPO (recruiting process outsourcing) firms in the market.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your broader involvement within the staffing industry:
Rob: I am a regular at Mass Hi-tech, ERE and Boston area networking functions. I attend Fordyce annually and participate with LION, Jobmachine.net, Recruitingblogs.com, SourceCon, Cybersleuths, Networked Recruiter and of course the number one recruiting blog “six degree’s from dave”
Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche?
Rob: Enterprise software sales recruiting is slow, period. In the late fall 2008, I thought this was another “Top Grading” market. However, the pain runs deeper and longer. The good news is that top candidates are still being placed and recruiters are still being paid. My suggestion is to find your niche and work it. Sales engineers that have strong technical backgrounds are always in demand. Top enterprise sales athletes are still coveted, no one is open for business without an elite sales force. Find those industries that have organic growth. Greentech, Solar (PV), and Carbon emission management systems are right on the horizon. This world still runs on software, that’s not changing, stick to the basics. Software and platform as a service in Healthcare IT is a good place to start.
Six Degrees: Aside from simply the generic term “Networking” what specific efforts have you made on your own behalf, or on behalf of colleagues to broaden your opportunities.
Rob: I currently sit on Advisory boards for some of the fastest growing technology companies in Cambridge/Metro Boston, Ma area. The 128-technology belt is my “backyard” and home to hundreds of Software/Venture Capital firms and Business Incubators. I am truly blessed to be recruiting/living in such a fertile technology rich area. In fact, many of my neighbors are Software executives. My advice is to “get smart” on Healthcare IT, specifically voice recognition software. Target the competitive landscape and subscribe to a sales intelligence service. I use Zoominfo ( HYPERLINK "http://www.zoominfo.com" www.zoominfo.com) I think it’s the best product on the market
Six Degrees: Given your own Trial and Error experiences as a Networker, what advice do you have for your peers on what NOT to do? Be specific
Rob: Networking is a function of making connects, period. The more connects you make on a daily basis the better your OBP (on base percentage). However, don’t be fooled in thinking you don’t need to pick up the phone. Nothing will replace talking to your clients/candidates. Don’t try to be the expert on all verticals and domains. Pick several that you have an affinity for and become a subject matter expert.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Rob: My next career goal is to transition my business into a pure retained search model. This is easier said than done, work in progress. Stay tuned world.…
eers do are not equivalent to what illusions a magician pulls from a hat, but rather - the product of wisdom they have gained from years of dedicated inquiry, research and deliverables. Who better to start the series than my continuing conversation with Russ Moon, aka, "the Sourcing Samurai".
• Russ Moon
• Sourcing Consultant, Talent Find LLC
• Richmond VA
• RecruitingBlogs Profile
• Office: 804-643-8604
• Mobile: 804-402-2364
Q&A with Russ Moon
Six Degrees: What is the source of your "LOWEST COST OF HIRES" - (least amount of invested resources for the easiest hires, regardless of quality) at your present employer?
Russ: In general employee referrals rank right up there for corporations. The internet with proper candidate development is even less, but frequently is not maximized in terms of the cost reduction potential. This is due to improper structure, inadequate training, process…..it only takes one fundamental block to be out of place to drastically dilute your results.
Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?
Russ: The computer does not know if you are looking for executive chefs, gas turbine start-up engineers or SAP FICO folks…that’s what I love is the variety of searches available. If you know the syntax, tools and techniques you can find what is needed. I love the hunt.
Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
Russ: I have approached my training from a holistic standpoint in that I try to expose myself to a variety of training given that each has its own merits. My goal with each session is to learn at least 3 new things I can try to help me find talent more efficiently and rapidly.
My education started in 2000 when I started with the original AIRS I,II and III (CIR) courses. Then I was fortunate to be on the AIRS University program during my tenure at MeadWestvaco while serving on their centralized recruiting team. I took full advantage and took like 9 courses in 7 months and that saturation training really leapfrogged my ability.
About the same time I recruited Shally to help me go to the next level and started his apprenticeship program. We worked together several times a week, he would at times coach me on particular searches or even come online with me to search and show me new approaches. That one year, in retrospect evolved me more than 5 years of self study. My income based on what I could do experienced a nice surge during that timeframe…so something was working …at least for me.
During my time at Wachovia I became involved with Broadlook Technologies and had some high caliber 1-1 training sessions with Kary Valley. Kary is simply scary smart and his impact on how I viewed what is possible in terms of data mining blew apart my mindset at the time. Delved very deeply into their Eclipse product, ultimately being named their first non-employee Black Belt. What still blows my mind is there is still a healthy amount of untapped capability that I have not harnessed with that product.
I returned full circle near the end of 2008 and start of 2009 returning to AIRS to renew my CIR and earn the ACIR (Advanced Certified Internet Recruiter) and recently the CSSR (Certified Social Sourcing Recruiter ) certifications. Really enjoyed the experience and was pleased to see AIRS still bringing fresh content to the training space. Every conference I attend I have made a point to sit in on Glenn/Shally’s presentations to stay on top of new syntax and their approach to sourcing. Preparing to further study under Shally as his time allows to “take it up another notch”. That will happen this week in his home and I have asked him to put together a regime for me that is somewhere in intensity between US Army Ranger Training and an unsedated medical procedure.
I want it to expose every chink I may have, put it out in the open and then we will jointly develop a written development plan to take me from point A to point B. I have also already heavily invested in some of Broadlook new training which is quite good. Improvement doesn’t just occur, you have to mentally be willing to pay the price just like an Olympic athlete who endures the workouts to condition themselves to perform at their peak.
There is a great deal of informal sharing and training that goes on, specific people I seek on particular topics. It is just a matter of saying “I’d like to learn more about this” and it helps to bring something to the table to share with them. I love our community.
Six Degrees: What recruitment software tools do you use in your day to day recruitment activities & do they translate effectively within all of the different countries where you recruit?
Russ: It really depends on the assignment. I no longer have a stock response of “I use XXX” because my toolkit has developed to the point of being somewhat unique and to tools to some degree can impact the direction the search takes based on the capabilities you have available to you. Of course, it comes back to skill and being comfortable with a certain procedure or tool or syntax which comes through practice. Lately, I find myself rethinking how to generate more speed in terms of my ability to find the same people I would have located anyway faster. The goal being to develop a more optimized toolkit and how I use it to allow me to deliver more talent in the same amount of time. Enjoying the process and several people have shared tips that have already shown me this is going to be a very good initiative. Some tools recently have been deleted, while in the last week I have added two new ones. Always evaluating and optimizing what works best in my assignments and if something doesn’t cut the mustard…it doesn’t last long.
Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?
Russ: Three tools when I first started (2000) that stood out as having either a “wow factor” or extreme utility were ACT!, AIRS Search Station (beta-tested) and EGrabber address grabber.
• ACT! – has a lot of interesting features and I thought was pretty versatile
• AIRS Search Station – my first foray into beta-testing and seeing a glimmer of how powerful search technology could be
• EGrabber address – it worked, easy to use, worked with ACT didn’t have to worry about it doing anything except pretty much working.
Six Degrees: How did your expectations of being a recruiter compare to the actual, first time you got on the phone or in the cubicle? In your opinion, how do people's assumptions about our vocation differ from reality?
Russ: I had no idea what was involved when I started. I remember buying Paul Fordyce’s manual on recruiting and studying others to try to develop my own authentic style. Sourcing – was so new that few in our industry understood it, much less knew enough to set their expectations. I realized later, as I spent more time in the trenches that part of my role was to educate, facilitate, share and catalyze understanding. During that process I experienced some of my greatest moments of illumination.
Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t, and how that moment culminated into a true learning experience?
Russ: Early in my career I would start sourcing, with an ‘eager to please’ attitude, without fully arming myself with all the information needed to really surgically source. This resulted in some near miss type candidates which were in the ballpark but not “Yes!” caliber. Intake Mistake …don’t make it and I will blog on this very soon.
What I learned was ‘slow is really fast.’ Slow in terms of taking the time to really indentify exactly what we are seeking, mapping out where this talent typically would congregate and thinking through your toolkit to make a decision on which tool/technique/source etc is going to have the highest probability of revealing that talent pool on my screen so that the core pipeline can be built. The tool piece is a bit sophisticated because there are more variables to factor in, with practice you start dialing some techniques in and it is very pleasant when you see your results onscreen change from goobley-goop into pure usable talent….that’s an interesting moment every time.
Six Degrees: How do you personally expect to facilitate change within our industry, and/or at your place of work? If you started that process, outline the problem, your solutions, and the vision.
Russ: I am being very authentic (which can be scary) and let my actions do the talking. If people are paying attention, they will get the message.
Certainly, I’m very passionate about helping others learn more about sourcing because it is part of the giving back process. There is no doubt in my mind that I have some very bright folks who graciously mentor me and I want to extend their influence by passing that on to others. It never fails to help me evolve so that philosophy has resulted in one win-win after another.
The forthcoming radio show, Sourcing Samurai, will be part of that effort where I’ll talk to very seasoned, knowledgeable experts who have spent the time in the trenches to really know what works about the people, experiences, training, technologies etc. that forged their sourcing mindset; changing how they approached their craft forever. Hopefully this very candid sharing will stimulate some thought in the audience over how they might learn from what the guests share with me.
Research is as much about knowing how to find the answer as it is knowing it. I know the guests who are slated to share are people that anyone who wants to learn more would do themselves a service by making a decision to spend that 15 minutes or so with us. Understand I touched upon the Sourcing Samurai previously, but it bears repeating, something free you will not want to miss.
Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?
Russ: I developed a sourcing model and was able to navigate actually gaining senior leadership approval without any revision to the original presentation. Again my network served as a private sounding board which contributed invaluable insight. My experience at Wachovia/Wells Fargo truly ingrained the concept and value of open collaboration. It is a form of intellectual diversity which results in an end product which is far superior to simply locking yourself in your office and doing the work in a vacuum.
Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?
Russ: Striving for brevity for the sake of time while balancing that with ensuring the communication is effective and professional.
Six Degrees: What are the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving past or present HR/Staffing org?
Russ: My opinion, which I don’t confuse as fact
Project Management - We need better skills there in general. We need to ask the right questions, i.e., “What’s the real scope ?” “What outside of the scope?”
“Letting Perfect be the Enemy of Good” – at a certain point, get going, watch what happens and adjust accordingly. Jason Goldberg has a phrase “Ship it”, which I have adopted. “Ship it”, Just do it and adjust vs. waiting until everything is perfect and the window of opportunity it closed.
Six Degrees: Considering all of the frustrations you have experienced in your career as a recruiter, -- what inspires you as you continue in your career?
Russ: I love what I do. Learning new things, analyzing, meeting the people, the relationships that have developed and are developing, technology - and I get paid to do things I really enjoy. I love it so much I just want to keep on going, evolving, growing, and seeing where the journey leads. We are in an era of exponentially accelerating possibility and that drives me.
Six Degrees: What one thing do you find most ideal given the opportunity to develop/ implementing/ invent professionally that has yet to be done.
Russ: I think for me personally I want to immerse myself in desktop technology and expand upon ways to increase the speed with which I source based on layouts, add-ons, toolbars and how I use them. It’s low cost, experience has shown me there is a lot of utility if you are disciplined in how you experiment and it sharpens your sourcing in general.
Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?
Russ: My online Radio Show – "The Sourcing Samurai" - stay tuned lining up our first recording session now.
My Arbita BlogBlog – http://aces.arbita.net/blog/Russ
My Arbita Homepage
Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?
Russ: I would like to help propel some of the thinking surrounding our industry. I would like to seed some healthy discussion, unearth some utilitarian tools, share with others and maybe inspire someone to really go for it. I have several experiences with “reverse mentoring” where I had a mentor who helped me with a topic and during that process I helped them gain a deeper understanding of what sourcing is all about. My new career provides opportunity for pursuing that passion and I truly enjoy the interaction with the super talented bright minds I tend to gravitate towards.
Help bring Sourcing/Research a little more out of the shadows. Keep and expand my seat at the table as a trusted adviser to the Senior Talent Acquisition Leaders who engage me to the point they want to bring me back. Help inspire someone with the aptitude to pursue this career path and show where it can lead.
e those jobs as the 'Google for green jobs'.
With more than 50 green job boards currently scattered across the web, job seekers are having a hard time finding and applying to this fast growing job market. Green Job Spider will enable them to search for these jobs under one interface. The site will also help green candidates learn about the types of green jobs and where they are through its blog and podcast.
The job search engine will be one of the first of its kind to focus exclusively on a specific niche. To date, most of these job search sites focus on all types of jobs nationwide but Green Job Spider will offer a more targeted experience for those who want a green job. Its crawler will index for jobs from solar to wind to biofuels. Job listings will be indexed nightly and all sources of green jobs will be hand selected to ensure quality.
“The time is right for a service of this kind” says Chris Russell, the site’s founder. “Green jobs are growing and the current method of finding them is too fragmented”. Russell is a ten year veteran of the online job search space. His company, AllCountyJobs.com LLC, is a well established player in the niche job board business.
Green Job Spider will also target green employers and recruiting firms who have jobs online. Listings can be indexed through an XML feed or spidered via web page. Pricing will consist of a flat monthly subscription fee with unlimited clicks. At launch it currently indexes about a dozen green job sources. Efforts are underway to index the remaining green job boards.
Currently in BETA the site is located at http://www.greenjobspider.com/
ader’s Christmas play that she had not gone to the play. My candidate explained that yes she had gone. She had pictures on her cell phone of the play with the date reflected. One of the other managers had a child in the same grade at the same school , they had gone together. She did not come back to the office after the play because she had a retirement luncheon for one of her team who was retiring so the other manager had dropped her off at her car, she had picked up the gift, gone to the luncheon and then returned to the office. She had been out of the office a total of 3 hours for the play and the luncheon. She offered to show her boss the pictures or if necessary to bring a note from her son’s teacher attesting to the fact that she had gone to the second grade play. Her boss told her that would not be necessary she believed her and the boss did recall that the retirement lunch had been scheduled . My candidate told her again that she would be happy to provide proof that she had gone, her boss could ask the other manager and of course the other employees who had attended the luncheon. Her boss again told her that would not be necessary she was satisfied that the report had been untrue. Thinking that the whole bizarre thing was over, my candidate walked by the other manager’s office and asked him if anybody had said anything to him about her not going to the play. He told her that one of the other managers had asked where she was because he came back and she did not return for another hour and a half. She thought no more of the incident other than to realize that one of her co-workers was obviously watching and reporting any and everything she could think of to the boss. How nice. Two weeks later she was called in again by her boss, a witness was present to take notes. She was told that she was being written up on a formal violation of the code of business conduct because she had interfered with an investigation. Blown away, she asked what investigation and how had she interfered? She was told that when she asked the manager who had attended the Christmas play with her if anyone had said anything to him she had interfered with the investigation of the report that she had not attended the play. The conversation went like this: Boss: You interfered with my investigation of the report that you had taken time off to attend the play and had not gone. Employee: You asked me about it. I offered to show you pictures with dates and times, told you to call in my co-manager for verification and offered to bring a note from my son’s teacher. You told me it was not necessary you believed me. According to policy you are supposed to tell me if I am the subject of an investigation, you did not. In fact you told me that it was closed you were satisfied that I had gone to the play and attended a retirement lunch. I had no idea that when you told me the issue was closed that there was any kind of investigation as you refused to even look at the pictures I had on my phone. How could I interfere with an investigation if I didn’t know there was one? Boss: You should know without being told that I will investigate and have to investigate any report of misconduct . Employee: I asked you if you were satisfied, you told me that you were and it was a closed issue. So if you told me it was closed how could I interfere? Boss: When you asked your fellow manager if anyone had said anything to him you reopened it. Employee: So did you determine that I was in fact at the play? Boss: Yes that was verified but you interfered with my investigation by asking your coworker if anyone said anything to him. Employee: Let me get this clear, you verified that the report was false after you had told me it was closed and you believed me but even though you told me it was closed you went on to investigate. When you asked my fellow manager if I had said anything to him did you also verify that I had not made any suggestion to him in any way to tell you anything one way or the other. All I said to him was to ask if anyone had said anything to him when he came back to the office. Boss: That is correct and because you asked him about it you reopened the investigation and you have violated the code of business conduct so this is a formal write up for violation. Additionally, you body language and the look on your face appear to be insubordinate so I will warn you that if you reflect any more attitude by crossing and uncrossing your legs I will expand this to a write up for insubordination. Employee: My foot is asleep. I am not being insubordinate I am simply blown away by this whole thing. It seems to be one big catch 22. I didn’t do what I was accused of doing. You told me you believed me, you told me it was closed. I had no reason to think there was any investigation going on and now I am being written up for a serious violation of business conduct for interfering with an investigation of something you knew before you investigated that I did not do. When this young woman showed up in my office again in tears after this mindless mess I asked her if she had shared with her boss that she had filed for divorce, talked with her or tried to about the stress she was under etc. etc.? Yes, she had told her . I asked how that conversation went. My candidate turned red and said, “This is really embarrassing and I don’t know how to really talk about it.” I told her to try me, as a recruiter I have heard about everything there is to hear. I thought. When she had told her boss she had filed for divorce her boss immediately wanted to know who she was sleeping with. She was a little shocked but told her she was not sleeping with anyone. Her boss launched into a graphic description of her own sex life, her affair with the UPS driver who delivers to the office while she and her husband were separated. Became more than intrusive in questioning my candidate about her sex life. My candidate told her that she really didn’t want to discuss all the details of her divorce was seeing a counseling minister and appreciated that although her boss felt she could discuss her own marital problems with her she felt uncomfortable talking about things like that so just wanted her to know what her situation was and if she seemed stressed wanted her boss to know why. Her boss repeatedly over the next few weeks had called her in to talk to her about how bad divorce was, constantly asked her for details of what was going on , who she was dating, told her she was under a spotlight and had to be careful, pressured her to go to the counselor that the boss had used. My candidate finally told her again that she didn’t want to talk about details. She was happy with the minister at her church that she was talking to and had her children in counseling with a child psychologist to help them with the situation. She was focused on getting the divorce over with, had no intention of reconciling just wanted to focus on her job and her kids. My candidate talked about how emotional her boss was, she would cry and want to hug her. Then tell her she was like her daughter it was a love –hate relationship and she didn’t know how to manager her. Realizing that this situation was now past my pay grade to advise anybody about I asked my candidate if she had the option to talk to someone in HR with the company. She indicated that yes she did and she was considering filing an ethics complaint against her boss due to all the weirdness, crying and talking about sex. I suggested she probably should speak with HR and see what they advised. She did so and was advised that she could arrange to have a meeting with her boss’s boss to discuss the situation. She requested the meeting and was told that the boss’s boss would contact her. The meeting did not take place until March. In the interim my candidate was called in and told it had been reported that she had used the daughter of one of the reps to babysit for her children. My candidate told the boss the girl she was using to keep her children was the daughter of a fellow who worked at the sheriff’s office, his daughter happened to have the same name as the daughter of one of the reps so no she was not having anyone’s daughter to babysit for her who worked at the company. The boss said, Oh, I see. A week later my candidate came to work a few minutes early, her boss was in her office at five minutes after eight and said. “Well I hear you had a good time in the bars last night, I hope you feel like working.” My candidate looked at her and said, “I feel fine, a friend of mine and I play volleyball in a city league, we were not playing until late so he picked me up, we stopped by Buffalo Wild Wings got a sandwich and didn’t have a drink because we were on our way to play volleyball. We saw several of the reps come in, they said hello and went to their table. Did not even come to our table but no I was not drinking. The boss informed her that it had been reported that she had been seen playing pool and she was advised that she was under a spotlight if she was anywhere and any of the reps came in she should be cordial, say hello and immediately leave. My candidate told her it was a small town, she didn’t think that it made much sense to tell a friend that they had to get up and leave a restaurant or anyplace else just because a few of the 170 people who worked in the office came into the same place. Her boss told her to do whatever she thought was wise, the boss was just telling her what she would do. ( From what I have been able to ascertain the only company policy as to fraternizing with other employees is that people in management can not date anyone who reports directly to them.) I asked why this was such a big deal to her boss. I was told, it was just her , she was constantly telling managers and anyone who would listen “Not to get their honey where they got their money”. She was obsessed with rumors of anyone having an affair or who was sleeping with whom and would bring up in management meetings that she had heard so and so were having an affair and had anyone heard anything. In February another male rep was called in and asked if he was having an affair with my candidate. He told the boss that no he was not , he had talked to when he reported to my candidate about his marital problems, my candidate had advised him to see his priest and to pray about his situation but she couldn’t counsel him. The boss informed him that his wife had called her and told her he was having an affair with my candidate. The guy finished with his meeting went to my candidate and apologized. My candidate told him she had received a call also from his wife on a Sat. morning accusing her of having an affair with him. She had told the wife if he was having an affair it was not with her. The fellow apologized again and told her it would not happen again he was sorry and his wife was way off base. My candidate was not questioned about it and didn’t think much of it other than it was another witch hunt and an upset wife getting a slap in at her husband. The next week she was called in and told that it had been reported that she was having parties at her apartment inviting some of the reps and there were pictures of the drunken parties. Nope, there were no parties. In fact my candidate had leased a house the previous July, had not lived in an apartment since July of 2009, had not had any parties and if there were any pictures she would like to see them. No pictures were forthcoming and nothing else was said. The meeting with the boss’s boss finally took place. My candidate explained everything that had happened, indicated that she was ready to file an ethics complaint, she was being targeted, was very uncomfortable about all the sex talk and accusations etc. etc. The boss’s boss asked her what she wanted. My candidate told her she wanted to be treated with respect, her personal life left alone, no more digging at her about what she was doing outside of work and assured the lady that she was not involved with anyone at the office or for that matter anyone else. She wanted the violation of business conduct removed from her personnel file as she felt it was totally bogus and ridiculous. The boss’s boss asked her to hold off on filing an ethics complaint, let her talk to my candidate’s boss and see if they could get the situation worked out. She would get back to her. Within a few weeks the boss called her in and told her that she was sorry that she had not given her a written notice of the investigation and in the future if there were another situation she would be sure and do that as she have done so. She would make an effort to be more effective as a boss. They seemed to have a good talk about the gossip and rumors that were instigated by the kind of “investigations” that the boss had with people. The mess seemed to stop. My candidate reported that things seemed to be going much better. She had been asked to take over all responsibility for escalated problem calls for the whole region, was being trained on all the fiber installation setups for half of the U.S. and had been designated the subject matter expert for fiber ops and had taken on the responsibility as project manager for the integration of another region into this office location making this office a hub for the Midwest, SW and SE. in addition to managing her sales team. All seemed to be going well, she had been contacted by several managers in other divisions about positions that would be opening up in 2011 that they wanted her to interview for if she was interested. So all looked good on the horizon. Her divorce was finalized in Oct 2010. She had the opportunity to buy the home she was leasing and was looking forward to advancing her career with a new job sometime in 2011. The boss was off her and the nitpicking had stopped along with most of the sex talk.
When she received her copy of her annual evaluation at the end of the year there was no Code of Business Conduct Violation on it regarding the the second grade Christmas Play or her dastardly interference with the investigation. So all looked finally right with the world and there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Stay tuned for an Alfred Hithcock almost ending. Give some thought to anything you can think about as to what might happen next. You will probably be wrong.…